voices in the dark

SUNY is a very big system — 64 campuses, of near-infinite variety, with a big bureaucracy behind it, and an alphabet soup of support agencies working with the central administration. It’s, frankly, exceedingly intimidating at first. But you figure it out over time, and learn to manage your corner of it.

At the end of February I went to a meeting with a group of colleagues from 14 of the SUNY libraries, and we all agreed to start work on collaborative collection development projects to expand the impact of our funding and provide a broader range of resources to our collective users. We plan to use a group subscription to WorldCat Collection Analysis heavily to assess and then monitor our collections, and we’ve gotten off to a fast start, setting up a listserv and a wiki and proposing twice-annual meetings, all on top of our commitment to an immediate-action project to reduce duplication of our acquisitions. The energy level was fantastic, and the desire to move forward on this path was exciting.

Even more than the joy of trying to do something innovative and collaborative for our students, though, I’m getting incredible satisfaction out of the fact that we’re talking to each other. It’s such a small thing, but … there’s been steady and engaged email traffic over the last two weeks, and I’ve learned more about how we’re similar and different in these two weeks than I have in my five years here. It’s not that we don’t have opportunities to talk — there’s SUNYLA and it’s attendant lists and conferences, and we all cross paths over projects and meetings and the like. But this kind of focused “you do the same work I do within the same constraints that I do” communication, the exchange of tips and tricks and projects that worked and failed, and understanding of what they’re doing just like I do it, and what’s 180 degrees different… it’s just wonderful.

I hope we keep it up.

Listening to: Sara Bareilles – Love Song

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